Grant to help extend statewide reach of CU Denver’s Pyramid Plus

By Staff

Pyramid Plus: The Colorado Center for Social Emotional Competence and Inclusion at the University of Colorado Denver is pleased to announce that it will expand its statewide reach, thanks to a new $811,810 grant from The Colorado Health Foundation. The foundation has provided funding to increase the number of children served as well as support training efforts at the Pyramid Plus Center housed at CU Denver’s School of Education & Human Development.

Pyramid Plus was created to promote positive social emotional development of all children from infancy to 5 years. The program supports and recommends inclusion of children with disabilities in all early childhood settings. This is important because social skills in young children with disabilities are greatly enhanced in settings with typically developing peers.

The new Colorado Health Foundation funding aims to increase the number of underserved Coloradans who receive health care by allowing Pyramid Plus to: add at least six new communities to the four they are already working with; certify at least 12 more Pyramid Plus  trainers and coaches; and reach at least 250 more children through the coaching to their child care providers.

Pyramid Plus has a statewide reach, with a focus this year on Grand, Gunnison, Pueblo, Summit, La Plata and Morgan counties and additional counties in the following two years. It adds to more than $200,000 in Colorado Health Foundation funding toward Pyramid Plus granted in late 2010. These funds have been granted through the University of Colorado Foundation.

“We are thrilled to have received additional funds to be able to partner with new communities in Colorado,” said Barbara Smith, director of the Pyramid Plus Center. “These partnerships represent our vision of expanding the opportunities to reach many more children, families and programs. Our focus is building the capacity of communities to implement the Pyramid Plus Approach with fidelity. We do this by assisting a communitywide, cross-agency leadership team to plan and sustain the effort, certifying trainers and coaches in their community, and helping to establish at least one program that can show others ‘how to do it.’ This way, when we leave a community, they have the expertise right at home to improve children’s social emotional competence and the inclusion of children with disabilities.”

Said Kelly Dunkin, vice president of philanthropy for the Colorado Health Foundation, “We see a need for programs that provide caregivers of young children in Colorado with skills and techniques to promote social-emotional well-being and prevent and address behavioral health problems. The Pyramid Plus Center uses evidence-based strategies to foster positive social-emotional development and effectively address behavioral health problems. Children who benefit from high-quality early care that promotes positive social-emotional development are better prepared for school.”

To obtain more information about this approach and the two educational models on which it was built, the Pyramid Model for Promoting Social and Emotional Competence and the SpecialQuest Birth-Five approach to early childhood inclusion, please visit

The School of Education & Human Development is committed to developing excellent educators and counselors who inspire and engage in the community. Our faculty, students and alumni have the research knowledge, innovation and cultural competence needed to stimulate growth and achievement in urban and diverse populations.